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A Night to Remember
by Asa Butcher
2006-09-27 21:05:19
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Bryan Adams
Polydor, 2005

Hartwall Areena was rocked by Bryan Adams last night as he continued his 2006 World Tour with a two-hour set packed with over twenty songs from his 25-year back catalogue. Despite the arena being a couple of thousand people short of capacity, the enthusiastic audience cheered, clapped, whooped, swayed, danced and sang loud enough to disguise that fact.

After an interesting Björk/jazz warm up act, Bryan followed his band on stage and immediately launched into 'Room Service', the title track from his last studio album, and set the tone for a thoroughly energetic show. The lyrics of his opening number may have summed up his life on the road ("I've been on the road nearly all my life, Been around the world 'bout a thousand times"), but even he was surprised to learn that he hadn't performed in Finland since February 2002.

Following his introduction, "Hello, My name is Bryan!", it seemed as though he was determined to make up for lost time by singing 'Somebody', 'Open Road' and '18 Til I Die' in quick succession; the latter firing the crowd up even further. The band dropped down a key with 'Let's Make A Night To Remember' and 'Can't Stop This Thing We Started' before Adams quipped about his ability to write a quick album, which was demonstrated by performing 'Back To You', a song that was written in a single night.

After 'I Think About You', the band brought everybody to life with the opening chords of 'Summer Of '69', Adams' piece de resistance. The song always reminds me of a friend who would sing, "I got my first real wet dream, I got it when I was only five", which isn't too far away from the meaning of the actual song. One lucky audience member was given the plectrum Adams used for the song, while anybody hoping for a rest was disappointed as the strains of 'Everything I Do' immediately began and lighters appeared throughout the arena.

ovi_adamsAdams, dressed head-to-toe in black, like the rest of the band, decided that there was no time for a breath, so he sang 'Cuts Like A Knife' and demonstrated that age is a mental state, proving that being almost fifty is nothing. The highlight of the evening was the invitation to a lucky lady to accompany him on stage to sing the duet 'When You're Gone', originally performed with former Spice Girl Mel C.

Sandra, a Finnish student, overcame her nerves and dazzled the audience with a good rendition, some confident dance moves and a couple of jokes at Adams' expense, "Am I singing the high or the low part?" 'Lowlife', the B-side from the single 'Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?', was unexpected and the virtuoso guitar performance of Keith Scott, Adams' lead guitarist, on 'It's Only Love' was breathtaking, even when he played with it behind his head!

'Hearts On Fire' from his 1987 album Into The Fire, 'Heaven', Adams' first number-one on the United States Billboard Hot 100, and 'The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You' rounded off the show before the band returned for the obligatory encore, which consisted of 'Cloud Number Nine' and 'Run To You'. It seemed as though the show was over, as Mickey Curry gave his drumsticks away to the crowd, but after some more cheering Adams returned to the stage alone carrying a guitar.

For another twenty minutes, he played four more songs in an unplugged style ('Please Forgive Me', 'When You Love Someone', 'Straight from the Heart, and All for Love') in the understated fashion of the evening. The night was brimming with energy, yet nothing was overdone or felt contrived and he avoided the irritating 'using some Finnish words' that many artists feel is necessary. I just hope it won't be another four and a half years before Bryan Adams returns to Finland making it another night to remember.

SET LIST (Hartwall Areena, Helsinki, Finland, 25 Sept, 2006)
Room Service
Open Road
18 Til I Die
Let's Make A Night To Remember
Can't Stop This Thing We Started
Back To You
I Think About You
Summer Of '69
Everything I Do
Cuts Like A Knife
When You're Gone
It's Only Love
Hearts On Fire
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You

Cloud Number Nine
Run To You

Please Forgive Me
When You Love Someone
Straight From The Heart
All For Love

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Sambo2006-09-26 12:55:02
Yay! Shame that Hartwall Arena is such an unsafe shithole and not that a comfortable/nice venue. Many concerts have been ruined for me by the Hartwall experience.

Asa2006-09-26 14:38:41
How is it unsafe? I didn't notice anything that different from other sports arenas used as music venues.

Sambo2006-09-26 19:46:17
Unsafe as in it would be bloody hard to evacuate safely (I know they are approved by the Finnish authorities but) in an emergency when folk often nearly fall over the small space when they are sober and in bright light. Plus seats are too small and uncomfortable high up. On the ground floor rink they use chairs that are like hats (only get one cheak in) and all on same level. Wires were all over floor and uneven matting at BB King concert (latest one I remember).

Frank2006-09-27 11:51:48
Great review! Sounds like he rocks as hard as Bruce "the Boss" Springsteen... for him too, good rockin' show.

Asa2006-09-27 20:31:18
I don't think he was on stage as long as Bruce usually is. I have heard Bruce does 4 hour shows!

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